FORFARSHIRE and Uddingston will today (Sat) make a second attempt to play their eagerly anticipated Grand Final, this time at The Grange, Edinburgh.
The showpiece occasion of the domestic season between winners of the Eastern and Western Premier divisions was rained-off last Saturday at Titwood, Glasgow, and following further inclement weather in the west of the country, the fixture was yesterday moved to the capital.
For Uddingston the incentive is simple – to become only the second team from the west to lift the coveted trophy in seven attempts following Prestwick’s success two years ago.
The Bothwell side are making their second appearance in the biggest match of the domestic season, having lost to Arbroath in 2013, while ‘Shire take part for the first time.
Uddingston had both good and bad news in terms of selection this week. On the plus side, Scotland batsman Calum MacLeod, a long-standing member of the club, is set to make his only appearance of the season after completing playing commitments south of the border.
However, they are still without all-rounder Ross Lyons whose return from a holiday in the States has been delayed by Hurricane Dorian.
Uddingston president Paul Hoffmann is backing his side to make their mark and said: “Unfortunately Ross won’t make it back in time for the game as he is stuck in Florida hiding from Hurricane Dorian!
“But Calum will add value in all departments and, while we acknowledge the strength of Forfarshire, I am always confident of a result with our team.
“Our bowling attack is the best in the country.”
Hoffmann, himself one of the most feared pace bowlers in the country during a distinguished career, watched with pride as fellow seamers Niall Alexander, Abdul Sabri and Scotland star Gavin Main played a key role in Uddingston’s Western Premier title success.
That trio had superb backing from spinners Amir Gul – the top wicket-taker in the division with 33 victims – and Mo Awais as well as the missing Lyons.
Meanwhile, Forfarshire may benefit from the week’s delay since Scotland all-rounder Michael Leask, who was set to miss out last Saturday, is available to play for the Eastern Premier champions.
Leask finished the campaign as the league’s leading run scorer and had superb support from Craig Wallace and Chris Greaves who were also prolific with the bat, suggesting the battle between ‘Shire’s top order and Uddy’s seam attack could be pivotal.
The Broughty Ferry side are hoping to complete a memorable treble this weekend as they also start favourites in tomorrow’s Murgitroyd T20 Cup finals day at Dumfries.
Forfarshire skipper Umair Mohammed, who will bow out after taking the decision to move to a club nearer his Edinburgh home, remains determined to enjoy a winning finale.
He said: “It’s been a memorable season for us but we’re not content simply with being the best team in the east – we want to be the best in the country.
“The only way for us to prove it is by beating Uddingston.”